EliteXC needs a branding makeover to compete against UFC

May 31, 2008

When people think about Mixed Martial Arts (MMA), the first brand they think of is UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship).  In fact, UFC has basically become the generic name for MMA, much like Kleenex for facial tissue.  Much of this popularity is due to the success of Spike TV’s reality TV show The Ultimate Fighter, which first went on air in 2005 and is extremely popular with the elusive 18 – 34 guy (including yours truly).  Basically UFC has made all other leagues seem bush league…something every brand strives to do.

This Saturday Night, UFC’s competitor EliteXC had a chance to change the game with a prime time feature on network TV with CBS Saturday Night Fight.  It was a first for MMA since UFC has always been limited to cable (on Spike TV) or Pay Per View.  EliteXC blew the opportunity though and further cemented UFC’s lead.

If you are a challenger brand, you need to make the most of your brand

EliteXC missed the opportunity because of simple branding mistakes.  You see, when you are a challenger brand (ie in 2nd or 3rd place behind a huge brand), you need to make the most of opportunities.  You need to show potential fans/consumers why your brand is better than the entrenched brand.  EliteXC had the potential for this type of showing.  They were on a national stage that UFC has never had (CBS vs Spike).  They had stellar fighters lined up (Gina from American Gladiator and Kimbo Slice from street fighting fame).  And most importantly, they had a much-anticipated title fight lined up. 

But they screwed it up with poor branding missteps

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Benjamin Del Shreve – Great band to check out

May 31, 2008

If you are looking for some new music, check out Benjamin Del Shreve. Based out of Fayetteville, AR, it is the solo effort of the former front man for GS Megaphone. They are one of those great bands you have never heard of. My favorite lyric on their album is “Talk to the girl that intimidates you…pretend that you are brilliant & charming.”

Wii Fit will change the game of fitness

May 28, 2008

The Wii Fit is going to be a game changer.  Wii FitMine arrived last week and already I can see that this little game has the potential to change how people view staying fit and healthy.  The reasons are simple:

  1. Fun…Easy as that:  Motivation to keep going has always been the biggest barrier to overcome with exercise.  Wii Fit takes care of that hurdle by making exercise not seem like exercise at all (kinda like Dance Dance Revolution a few years ago). 
  2. Measureability and Accountability:  The key to a good exercise routine is tracking your progress.  I’ve never been able to get myself to do that.  But Wii Fit takes care of it for me with the Daily Body Tests.  Now I know how I am doing and it calls me out if I skip a day
  3. Education:  When most of us start exercising, we don’t consult a personal trainer (or even a doctor for that matter).  Wii Fit recognizes that and builds education and correction into the game.  It tells you that your body weight can fluctuate throughout the day so you should do your test at the same time.  And it corrects your posture in yoga so you are doing the exercises the way you were meant to (a real yoga teacher cant even do that!).
  4. Challenges:  Humans are competitive by nature, especially anyone that grew up playing video games.  We want to get the high score, unlock the next game, etc.  Wii Fit recognizes this and rewards you by giving you new games and workouts the more you play.  I watched my girlfiend play it for over 2 hours the other night just because she was getting so excited about each game she unlocked.  That is real motivation for exercise!

I just wonder how long it will be before people recognize this potential.  When will the first school order a few Wii Fits for their PE class?  Or when will the first gym create a Wii Fit class (or even, when will the first Wii Fit gym open)?  And will brands try to leverage the power of Wii Fit like Nike did with the iPod for Nike +?  The opportunities are endless.  The trend of consumers wanting a healthy lifestyle isnt going away and Nintendo of all people just made it that much easier for them to live just a little bit better.

Brands I Love: Help Remedies

May 28, 2008

I recently I came across a brand whose concept I just love, Help Remedies. The brand is taking what Method did for Home Care (and now Personal Care) and applying the concept to Health Care.  The company is bringing simple, yet elegant packaging/design to health care products, while using a singular benefit such as “help, I have a headache.” I love this concept and their tag line of “Everyone needs a little help from time to time.”  The company goes on to explain their concept further on their About Us page with the following:

While some health problems are large, complicated and frightening, most aren’t the end of the world. A kind word and a little help can get you on your way again.

Help Remedies was created to make solving simple health issues simple. We find the best solution there is, and take away everything else. By stripping away some of the complexity and fear mongering of the health industry, we hope to make the category friendlier and more accessible, and in doing so empower people to make their own health decisions.

We think a little help, honesty and kindness will go a long way.

I think the brilliance of this idea is really in the simplicity.  Health Care doesnt need to be complicated but we have made it this way.  There is a growing trend of DIY Doctor (coined in MicroTrends) and brands like Help will be able to capitalize in a big way.  And it will be easy for them to expand with Help, I have heartburn (watch out Tums) or Help I have chapped lips (watch out Blistex).  The opportunities are endless for this brand….I just hope P&G’s M&A group has their eye on these guys!

Weezer creates a great homage to Viral

May 27, 2008

How many of these great moments in Viral/Online video history can you recognize? Stellar video, especially for Geek Marketers/Weezer fans like myself.

Klondike does it right by not walking away from a great campaign

May 26, 2008

Catching up on the DVR this weekend, I was watching the season finale of “My Name is Earl” when a great brand integration caught my attention. It turns out that Klondike Bar is bringing back their great jingle of “What would you do for a Klondike Bar” and blasting the message across multiple new media channels.

Nostalgia is a powerful marketing tool

Many brand managers/agencies suffer from NCH (Not Created Here), causing them to turn their back on great campaigns/jingles of old. But the smart folks at Klondike are embracing nostalgia in their campaign, but doing it through new tools with Consumer Generated Media, Branded Entertainment and Public Relations.

First, the whole campaign revolves around the “What would you do” contest where you can submit a video showing just what you would do for that Klondike. The top video will be $100K and the chance to meet “The Lonely Island “ team (which in itself is a huge prize for aspiring comedians/writers). Second, they created what I thought was a pretty natural integration with “My Name is Earl” where Randy proceeds to do several “wacky” things to get a Klondike Bar. Third they tied this integration and contest together with spots throughout the show promoting the contest (the spots alone made me laugh out loud…much to the annoyance of my girlfriend). Finally, they added a dose of PR with an appearance on Jay Leno to promote the contest as well. Interestingly, both Earl and Leno are on NBC so this seems to be a top-to-top integration.

All in all, I have to say this is a great way to do Consumer/User Generated Media and New Media thanks to the following:

  1. Klondike didn’t just rely on traditional media & :30 second spots to promote the contest.
  2. They gave consumers a “Creative Brief” to follow with a specific framework “What Would Do” and specific categories: Laughs, Did You See that?, and Flaunt It.
  3. They gave incentives for submitting videos ($$$ and trip) AND for watching/engaging with the videos ($25K for watching/rating videos)
  4. They didnt walk away from nostalgia and try to create a new tagline. More marketers need to stop spending millions to generate awareness of a new tagline that no consumer really cares about anyways.

What do you think? Did Klondike do it right? What elements would you have added or gotten rid of?

Weekly Round-Up: 5-23-08

May 23, 2008

Been slammed in meetings all week but wanted to share the following links that caught my attention.  Have a great long weekend!